ANCHORAGE – Senior guard D.J. Ursery scored a career-high 24 points for host Alaska Anchorage, but a late comeback attempt came up short Thursday in a 64-51 loss to Seattle Pacific in the 2018 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championships quarterfinals at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The 5th-seeded Seawolves also got 11 points from junior guard Malik Clements as their season came to an end with a 15-14 record.
The 4th-seeded Falcons (17-11) used a balanced scoring effort to advance to Friday’s 2:15 p.m. AST semifinal against top-seeded Western Oregon (27-1), led by 16 points from guard Gabe Colisimo and 11 points apiece from Hunter Eisenhower and Harry Cavell. Center Nathan Streufert grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for the visitors.
“I think it’s pretty simple – they outplayed us,” said UAA head coach Rusty Osborne, who led his program to its 13th consecutive winning record this season. “Definitely there were things that we could have done better, No. 1 being rebounding. They attacked us on the glass, and we did not respond. That’s really the difference in the game.”
The Seawolves fell behind from the outset – trailing 7-0 and 19-2 – and faced a 29-17 deficit at halftime.
SPU pushed its advantage to 42-21 with 14 minutes remaining and still held a 51-32 edge with 8:29 left.
UAA chipped away from that point, cutting it to 53-43 on a Clements feed to Ursery for an easy layup at the 4:25 mark. The Seawolves could not get any closer until two Ursery free throws made it 60-51 with a minute left, but that would end the scoring for the hosts.
“I thought we defended. I thought we battled,” Osborne added. “I thought the game was kind of a microcosm of our season. I think after that first five minute when it was 19-2, people had us buried, and our guys didn’t give up. They continued to fight. But it takes a lot of energy, and when you face some of the challenges that we do offensively, you’ve almost got to play perfect in that circumstance.”
A Second Team All-GNAC honoree, Ursery shot 9 of 19 from the floor and 6 of 6 at the free-throw line to top his previous high of 23 points, set in UAA’s 57-52 home loss to SPU on Jan. 6.
Junior center Brian Pearson had six points, six rebounds and four blocks for UAA, and Clements tied for game-high honors with four assists.
The Seawolves committed just nine turnovers but were outshot .415 to .315 and outrebounded 43-25.